Veropedia launches

This past week saw the launch of Veropedia, a quality-oriented, stable version of Wikipedia (see What is Veropedia?). A select cadre of trusted contributors go out and identify good versions of articles on Wikipedia and upload them to Veropedia. The idea is that if you want to read an article about a certain subject, go to Veropedia first to see what has been identified as the best version of the article, and if Veropedia doesn’t have it yet, it just links you right through to the newest revision on Wikipedia. This is an awesome feature because Wikipedia articles are constantly in flux, and it can be a headache trying to read Wikipedia and running smack dab into vandalism or a chopped up article in the midst of an edit war.

I bring up Veropedia because I had a not insignificant role in its creation. I’ve been involved from the very beginning about seven months ago. I wrote roughly half of the back-end code (not the interface stuff). Specifically, I wrote the code that grabs articles from Wikipedia, parses them, inserts them into the Veropedia database, and munges them to conform to the Veropedia style. A learned a lot about databases and XML and HTML parsers while writing the code for Veropedia. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do nearly as much with Veropedia since I started my job, which has taken up most of my free time. But I’m still up in the rafters, keeping tabs on things, and wishing it much success.

The neatest thing about Veropedia is how it feeds back into and improves Wikipedia. Veropedia has a very comprehensive article checker that points out just about every flaw with an article that a computer program can find. But articles aren’t edited on Veropedia. Veropedia contributors must go and edit the article on Wikipedia, fixing up all the flaws, until a quality version is ready for importation to Veropedia. So everyone wins: both Wikipedia and Veropedia get improved articles. The Veropedia article checker even finds many flaws in Featured Articles on Wikipedia, such as broken external links.

Update 2007-10-29: Awesome, it looks like the news of Veropedia’s launch made Slashdot’s front page. And a link to this blog post was included in the write-up. Color me surprised that my site hasn’t gone down already. Anyway, if you have any questions for me about Veropedia, feel free to ask me here and I’ll respond ASAP. Or come chat with us in #veropedia on irc.freenode.net. Also, feel free to check out the rest of this site. You might find something interesting.

4 Responses to “Veropedia launches”

  1. Gregory Kohs Says:

    Hey Cyde… Just curious if you could elaborate on what sorts of “flaws” are being checked and corrected. Are we just talking about spelling errors and subject-verb agreement? Or would the content flaws as found on a nightmare article like “History of West Eurasia” also be corrected? I just feel like the content flaws are going to be the more troublesome to spot, and certainly more troublesome to “fix up” in Wikipedia, when you consider that biased, anonymous admins are lording over certain articles and quickly revert any attempts to “fix up” the deliberate bias in the articles. (E.g., see Wikipedia for circumcision, PETA, Lyndon LaRouche, Indie rock, Tourism apartheid, and Ayurveda. Some would say they are quite beyond “fixing”.)

  2. Cyde Weys Says:

    The parser checks for everything that can reasonably be checked by a computer without the development of strong AI. Thus it isn’t able to check for content. But it does check for spelling, broken external links, maintenance tags, links to disambiguation pages, non-free images, incorrectly formatted citations, and a lot more.

  3. JoshuaZ Says:

    Hey, your blog entry is now cited on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veropedia (and yes, you are a reliable source for this purpose as a primary talking about your own thing). Actually, trying to help out that stub and getting repeated nasty tags made me understand a little bit how all the people who feel like our tagging system is really hostile and makes them feel unwanted. I’m really going to need to rethink my attitude on that. I mean, I’m even used to the system, I know what the standards are, and I felt a bit irritated. Anyways, I hope everything is going better with you than it was the last time we talked.

  4. Veropedia: Wikipedia mit Qualit├Ątskontrolle - The Inquirer DE Says:

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